I was thinking about you the other day. About how some days our enthusiasm supports us in doing the hard things, facing the big challenges, and keeping going no matter what stands in our way.
And how other days, there isn’t a drop of motivation to get us moving even the tiniest bit.
This came to mind recently after I got some disappointing news about my health. Nothing catastrophic or life-threatening, just disappointing.
You may know my Lyme story, but in case you don’t here’s the three-sentence version:
My health started to decline in early 2010, and after tons of misdiagnoses, in July 2013, a doc pinpointed chronic Lyme disease and a host of other issues. I got way worse before the Lyme was gone, and once it was gone, my body was toast. It took several years to regain my health, and although I’m much better, I’m still not 100%.
Unlike when I was sick, my brain now runs full-tilt, I can get through every work day without issue, and my drive to serve clients and fulfill my mission is stronger than ever.
But I’m still not as strong and energetic as I was before I got sick, and I’m determined to get all the way there.
Earlier this year, I received a new diagnosis, and I’ve been actively working to heal it. Late last month, I took a test which I was hoping would indicate I’ve made it to the other side.
Unfortunately, the opposite news came.
When it did, as our crazy brains do, mine instantly went to, “I’ll never get better. I can’t live like this. This so unfair.”
Fortunately, I know better than to let my brain stay there for more than 30 seconds. So I had a good, long cry in my husband’s arms until all the sadness of the moment cleared out.
Despite that, throughout the day, I could see my brain wanting to go to the doom and gloom story it’s been practicing for nearly nine years. When I was my sickest, I rehearsed it over and over, worrying that my constantly aching body would always hurt, my energy would always be in the toilet, and my ability to do the physical activities I love would never return.
I practiced that story so well that it rutted a deep groove in my brain, and I can pop back to it effortlessly.
The good news is, I also practiced three other stories—and I practiced these more than my story of doom and gloom:
- Acceptance: I can learn to live with this as my new normal.
- Belief: I believe I can get all the way better.
- Commitment: I will do everything I can to fully heal.
Since I practiced these stories of hope, I can also pop back to them readily, though it does take some deliberate effort to do so. (This is because brains are biased towards gloom and doom stories.)
Yes, I can accept this as my new normal, AND I believe I can get better, AND I commit to doing everything in my power to fully heal.
All three are required: Acceptance + Belief + Commitment.
And that’s what made me think of you.
This is the same set of beliefs we must have as we work to grow our businesses.
It starts by not letting the doom and gloom stories run the show. We must not give them air time in our own heads. It’s okay to ignore the shit that your mind spews at you—it’s just fear, not the truth.
Then we must step through the ABC stories.
Acceptance of our current reality and acceptance that we might not get what we want.
“Some people think acceptance is weak. … No. Acceptance is the most powerful thing in the world. Because when you accept something as it is, you open up to the possibility that there might be a better way trying to emerge. Acceptance allows you to look for the intelligence of the universe at work.”
Still resistant to accepting circumstances you don’t like? I understand how it feels. Let’s look at it more practically.
We all only have so much time, energy, and attention to use up every day. Do you want to put yours toward fighting the unchangeable reality of this very moment? Or would you rather put it towards believing and taking action on the future you want to create?
Full acceptance of the current moment frees up time, energy, and attention so you can move into the next step: Believing what you want is possible. @jennyshih (Click to Tweet!)
When you start to focus on belief, you can start to see that what you want—or something better—is possible, and believe it so deeply that it feels like a fact.
This is how I felt about healing from Lyme disease. Despite the countless stories you’ll read about “how you can never heal from Lyme,” I flat out refused to believe them even the tiniest bit. Fun fact: I’ve been free of Lyme symptoms since 2015.
Once we’re armed with acceptance + belief, we then commit to trying new things, taking crazy amounts of action, being willing to try a million things that fail to find the million-and-one thing that works.
From that place, our world starts to shift.
Often not right way. Not quickly. Not necessarily easily, either. Our belief and resilience will often be tested.
No one promised achieving our end goal would be easy, so drop that story that it should have happened already or shouldn’t be this hard. (That’s resistance to reality.)
This means the moment you spot your mind spewing that BS, which is something it will do relentlessly, go back to the magic three: acceptance + belief + commitment.
My health, your business, and any other goals you have set. They are possible, but you have to do these three things to get there.
This means, even though my test results weren’t what I was hoping for… Even though the deck appears to be stacked against me… Even though there is no clear answer or path forward…
I commit every day to accepting my current reality + believing what I want is possible + taking action to achieve my goal—even when those actions are uncomfortable, scary, or unknown.
And the same goes for you.
Even though your business might not be where you want it to be… Even though you may not see the exact path forward…
You must commit every day to accepting your current reality + believing what you want is possible + taking action to achieve your goal—even when those actions are uncomfortable, scary, or unknown.
This is non-negotiable.
The question is: Are you willing?
Are you willing to accept reality and the future you fear?
AND ALSO believe that the result you want is possible?
AND ALSO be open to doing hard, scary, challenging, uncomfortable things?
I hope so. For you, for all the people you’re meant to serve with your business, and for the world at large who needs more role models like you, I hope so.
So remember, you are not alone in this.
You aren’t the only one facing a reality you don’t prefer, fearing a future you don’t want.
You aren’t the only one who needs to practice ignoring the BS thoughts and dig deep to believe what you want to create is possible.
You aren’t the only one who is doing uncomfortable, scary things.
There is a whole world of people just like you and me who are stepping up the challenge, willing to face what we don’t like to create what we do want.
So when you feel alone, when it feels hard, when you feel hopeless, STOP. Get quiet inside. And know I’m right there with you—with countless others—choosing to believe that what we want is possible and doing everything we can to make it happen.
Let’s do this together.
In fact, let’s do it together starting right now.
Share with us…
What are you willing to accept right now?
What belief can you hold on steadfastly to?
What commitment are you willing to make to yourself?
Leave a comment here so we can cheer you on.
While you’re here, support everyone else who is willing to step through the ABCs.
Because even if we’re all facing different challenges, knowing we’re in it together makes it that much easier to to do.
Please, share your story here, right now.
Jenny Shih is an uncompromising business coach who has taught more than 25,000 women how to earn a full-time income working 30 hours per week or less as online, service-based entrepreneurs. For most of her time in business, Jenny was debilitatingly sick and at some points was only able to work a few hours each week. As the household breadwinner, Jenny found strategic ways to ensure her business remained highly profitable while also giving her the much-needed time to heal. Drawing on both her decade of experience in high tech and her training with Martha Beck and spiritual teacher Byron Katie, Jenny guides her clients through a no-fluff, step-by-step approach to creating thriving businesses they love without having to work long hours or make huge sacrifices. Connect with Jenny on her website and on Facebook, and be sure to grab her Ultimate Business Bundle to help you build a profitable business on your own terms.
Image courtesy of Tachina Lee.